Small bowl, wooden bracelet from India, tiny heart-shaped bowl, sapphire earrings, engagement ring, glass Buddha head, gold tie tack, dog tags, Cathedral high school charm, marbles found on our property, the heart-shaped key to my Grandmother Boss’ house, coins from various countries, hand-shaped earrings,

Blessed Mother key ring, Freshwater pearl earring from Panama, painter’s palette pin, Colossal Pictures tack, hand-shaped pin, gold circle pin, Super Mom pin, painter’s palette pin, 2 pair of decorative earrings from India.

Last year we renovated our first floor (again) and added a sitting room and a second bathroom. When this was completed, we then moved everything out of our 2nd floor into my studio space and switched spaces with our tenants Chris and Val. We had been living in our second-floor apartment for 36 years. In the process, I touched everything that we owned- every piece of clothing, every dish and glass, every book, all of our furniture, and the contents of every closet, drawer, shelf and cabinet in the house.

Needless to say, there was some purging. Things were discarded, donated, and sorted. Artifacts that had not seen the light of day for years were unearthed. It was both amazing and horrifying. But very, very interesting. I am fortunate to be tidy by nature and do not consider myself overly sentimental about stuff but I recognized the pull of some objects that are deeply associated with people, places, and events.

I had been thinking about the nature of things saved when I started this mandala- what gets saved and why? I began to root around my drawers and boxes, picking out some things, leaving others. It was surprisingly difficult. The objects were not uniform in size and shape and I did not have a lot of multiples. I built it over the course of an hour or two, adding and deleting, searching for like objects, establishing balance if not symmetry. I primarily chose things that had belonged to people or pets lost to me, things given from people dear to me, and things collected during adventures.

Clearly bigger is not necessarily better. It occurs to me that all of the things in this mandala would fit into the pockets of the clothes that I am wearing. A lifetime of memories in four pockets. This must be how people manage to emigrate to another place in the world. Fill your pockets with the memories of your past life and go bravely into the future.